2012-01-11 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

I seriously doubt if Albert Einstein had pets in mind when he refined his Theory of Relativity, although there is a lot to be said about frame of reference and pet perspective when dealing with dogs and cats. Hence, I’d like to describe a few relativity principles that are dependent on the point of view of either our furry friends or their guardians:

•Relative Space/Time: Once you are retired, time warps for you. In the morning you no longer have to hustle at the speed of light to get to work. Each chore takes longer because you have the luxury of time. I find it hard to believe that I used to leave Babylon dressed and “chipper” to be at school in Shirley by 7:45 a.m. My dogs were walked briefly before leaving. Not any more. Presently I’d be hard pressed to be at Babylon High School, even in a bath robe, by 9:30 a.m. Einstein said that speed and mass affect how fast time moves, but not having a boss caring whether you are late affects your timing too.

Nowadays we take our dogs for leisurely walks at Southards Pond, Argyle Lake and Gardiner’s Park. We used to be out of the house by 9 a.m.; now it’s stretched to 10. We tend to meet the same folks walking their dogs even though our arrival has shifted slightly. The dogs get to know each other. We know many by name. We refer to them as “the regulars” which is actually a relative term because there are plenty more “regulars” who follow their own routine.

Once in a while you run into interesting new dogs such as the Dalmatian duo or the incredible Black Russian Terriers, and their owners tell you they are there all the time. Why haven’t we ever seen them? That is because pooch participants are on different schedules. The parking lots are often full throughout the day with “other regular” dog walkers at any given moment. We are being egocentric when we refer only to those we see as “the regulars.”

Relative Taste: Two of my dogs were seized from hoarder homes. Tiny Charlotte lived with 32 dogs and 10 cats in Lindenhurst while Edgar Afghan Poe was sandwiched into a tiny New Mexico house with 66 other Afghans and 27 parrots. In both homes, many dogs died before help arrived.

Food tends to remain a priority for rescued hoarder dogs. Charlotte was still a puppy when discovered in a dresser drawer in 2003. To this day she prefers stealing cat food to any other menu item including juicy steak or grilled chicken. Pilfering cat food must have been how she survived.

Edgar quickly learned to enjoy “room service” with us. He plants himself in position on his rug for his three squares a day. (Lunch consists of leftover breakfast.) Edgar is not picky about food. He scoffs down most handouts except for my omelets. He won’t eat them even if the eggs are fried with sausage, ham or bacon. He will nibble around the dreaded omelet leaving all traces of scrambled egg in his dish. However, if I bring home a breakfast special from the deli, he wolfs his egg portion down. Should I be insulted?

•Relative Beauty: No other dog can compare to an Afghan Hound in the looks department, but, of course, I am biased. That said- not all Afghans are created equal. For the last three years, our LI breed rescue has been dealing with discards from the same backyard breeder. Our nemesis doesn’t know that we exist although we have placed 12 of his puppies including #11 who went to her new home near Pittsburgh last weekend. Indirect attempts to spay/neuter the pups’ parents at no charge have been ignored. His dogs are all blonde or cream so they are stunning from a distance, yet they can’t compare to show Afghans. Up close their noses are too blunt, lacking the chiseled profile, and their coats too coarse to create the pantaloon silhouette; but to the novice eye, these Afghans are just plain gorgeous. Is “plain gorgeous” an oxymoron or a relative description?

•Relative Size: Each time I post a dog or cat on Babylon Shelter or Last Hope’s Petfinder site, I chuckle when I must choose “small, medium or large” because deciding the dog’s size reminds me of a silly incident that happened more than 25 years ago.

Back then, my friend Leslie and I would spend Saturdays at the now-demolished Babylon Shelter on Edison Avenue where we would encourage people to adopt while we were there taking Polaroids (remember Polaroids?) because we co-wrote this “Pets” column. A nice man came in with his kids. The family was considering a typically-sized, purebred Beagle. The father must have asked us the same question 10 times. “But is he big? But is he big?”

Beagle Guy wasn’t a breed judge, stacking 13- inch Beagles next to the 15-inch variety. Most likely a new pet owner, the man wanted reassurance that he was about to do the right thing. Leslie and I kept looking at each other, shaking our heads. “Big, as compared to what? To a Yorkie, to a Great Dane, to the Empire State Building?” The man continued to ask if the dog was big as he walked out the door with the Beagle. I still can’t answer his question since size, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Size is another relative term.

For Adoption at Babylon Town Shelter (631- 643-9270) Lamar St. W. Babylon: “Patch” #94953 is a young Shepherd mix who came in as a stray with a mysterious patch shaved on his back while “Dwayne” #94640 is either a small Lhasa or a large Shih Tzu. He has an unregistered microchip from 2003 so he will probably be turning nine this year. Dwayne likes other dogs.

Female: “Mae” the staff favorite; Rat Terrier; “Maya” #12-15- stray Golden Retriever being treated for a skin condition; “Hope”- tan Shepherd mix.

Male: “Timothy” -Lhasa with hit-by-car injuries; “Otis”- brindle Pit.

Cats: a litter of seven-month old kittens in the cat colony.

Upcoming Events:

*Sat. Jan. 21- Long Island Kennel Club is holding a Match Show at Doggie U in Bay Shore.

*Sun. Jan. 29- Last Hope is hosting a “Catch of the Day” luncheon at Popei’s in Deer Park to fund its Fix A Feral program. Tickets are $45; info at www.lasthopeanimalrescue.org or call 516-220-6695.

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